Karen's main sport is dance, and although she no longer dances professionally, she is improving her skills in Latin dance and finding her way back to the stage. She tells Sundried how her dance background has led to a love of all things fitness and a potential future in Olympic Weightlifting.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
I have been working as a dancer and dance teacher for 15 years, which means that some months I make more money than others. Because I have a big passion for movement and have always been training and interested in the science behind fitness and wellness, I decided to study to become a personal trainer and combine this with my dancing life. It started out with training a few clients 5-6 hours a week, but since moving to London and studying more to increase my knowledge, it has become a full-time business. My focus is to help people on their journey to being healthier and having a good-looking body using science and mindset. I love to 'fix' everything from imbalances and movement issues to bad habits. My experience has taught me that it isn't about perfection but about persistence, and with the right mindset and guidance you can achieve almost anything.
What are your training goals now?
My training is related to my dancing: keeping my legs and back strong, and my movements explosive and mobile. I'm also dealing with an ongoing neck injury and osteoarthritis in my knee, so I put in a lot of rehab work too. There is definitely an aesthetic goal too, and with a beach wedding coming up in Portugal in the summer, it's on!
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I absorb people's energy, which means that when I go out with friends and someone gets drunk, I will feel (and act) drunk too although I don't drink. I'm a cheap date!
What would future you, tell yourself when you were starting out?
There is no single truth and everybody is different! I used to get so confused by all the conflicting information out there, and wanted to find the solution that could help everyone. Studying and experimenting with different plans, systems, and people made me realise that the answer to a seemingly simple question in the first instance always is: "it depends". For myself and my clients it is important to assess goals, background and experience to be able to work efficiently and to keep an open mind to changes along the way.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I calculate my macronutrients most of the time, with a different setup on 'training' days and 'rest' days.On training days I consume a higher percentage of carbs and a lower percentage of fats with a moderate percentage of protein. On rest days it's a lower percentage of carbs and a higher of fats. Generally I will also have one 'ice cream day' a week. This is a day when I don't do any training and eat something that doesn't fit my plan... at all! This will never be ice cream, though, because I'm dairy intolerant!
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
I keep my clients motivated by following them up with measurements, fitness assessments, an online support group, ongoing guidance in workouts and nutrition through our app when we can't see each other face to face and educating them on why they are doing what they do.
Talk us through your training regime.
My training regime at the moment consists of 4 strength days, 2 conditioning days and 1 'ice cream day'. As well as this I practice yoga and train in dance.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I never stop educating myself through courses and reading. It is important though to know where to look for good quality knowledge. Tip: it's not Instagram!
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Aim for health and strength, get physique and confidence.
- Make recovery an important part of the process.
- Smile, you're training. It is not that serious ;)
If you could only do one workout for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would dance my life away! And deadlift.
Why work with Sundried?
I love the sustainability efforts of the brand. It is great to see a company actively taking steps to not put extra strain on the environment, and value everyone in the production process.
Favorite fitness quote:
Fitness isn't about being better than anybody else. Only better than you used to be.